Arguably the most influential heavy metal band of all time and pioneers of the genre, Black Sabbath had their fair share of unbelievable songs that helped define both a style and an era of music. Of course, they also had their fair share of questionable songs - especially on later albums with singers who weren't named Ozzy Osbourne.
Despite some bumps in the road, Black Sabbath was much more than their hits - and contributed some complex and layered compositions to the history of rock music that are often considered criminally underrated.
"Supernaut" From 1974's 'Vol. 4'
One of the most loved songs in the band's early catalog, "Supernaut" opened with an interesting production choice - hi hat. The song rolled on into a monsterous riff and then segued into some of drummer Bill Ward's most impactful work.
The song isn't just beloved by fans, it was also a favorite of Frank Zappa. Zappa once cited the song in an interview when asked what he was listening to at the time.
"‘Supernaut’: Black Sabbath. I think it’s from Paranoid. I like it because I think it’s prototypical of a certain musical style, and I think it’s well done. Also, I happen to like the guitar lick that’s being played in the background," Zappa said.
"Planet Caravan" From 1970's 'Paranoid'
Perhaps one of the most un-metal things the band ever did, "Planet Caravan" was more of a psychedelic rock song than heavy metal. It features understated vocals from Ozzy Osbourne that were recorded through a Leslie rotary speaker.
Bill Ward also played bongos on the song, which was rare and unorthodox for the typically-heavy hitting band. "Planet Caravan" is an experimental highlight of the Black Sabbath catalog.
"God Is Dead?" From 2013's '13'
Osbourne went back in the studio with his former bandmates, minus Ward, in 2013 and emerged with 13 - a well-received collection of songs that featured Rage Against the Machine's Brad Wilk stepping in on drums.
One of the standouts from the album was the single "God Is Dead?" - an eight-minute song with a provocative title that Osbourne explained in an interview.
"How I got that title was I was in somebody's office and there was a magazine on a table and it just said, 'God Is Dead,' and I suddenly thought about 9/11 and all these terrorist things and religion and how many people have died in the name of religion," he said.
"Air Dance" From 1978's Never Say Die'
Black Sabbath went through an extremely divisive period in terms of the reception they received from both fans and critics, and 1978's Never Say Die was essentially the beginning of that period. It was the last album with Ozzy Osbourne for decades, and featured songs that were seen as much more experimental and at times uneven.
"Air Dance" was perhaps a standout of the album, with its melodic opening riff, synths and cascading piano.